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“Row to the shore and explore a place you don’t know.”

So sings one of Canada’s GreenHeroes and singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer in a recently released campfire song she wrote to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada. Sarah recorded this beautiful tune, simply titled “The Park Song,” in both English and French. She also headlined a free outdoor concert at the official Parks Day celebration in Toronto earlier this month.

Jasper National Park by Frank Kovalchek

This isn’t the first time Sarah has written and sung about the environment. She wrote and recorded a song called “Escarpment Blues” and donated the proceeds to PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land), an organization she co-founded to protect the landscape she grew up on from further development. She starred in a documentary, also called “Escarpment Blues,” about her “I Love the Escarpment” tour in which she performed and spoke about the PERL campaign.

On a different project, thirteen Canadian filmmakers created The National Parks Project,which features 13 Parks including  the Tundra in Manitoba to Gwaii Haanas National Park, off the coast of mainland B.C. It is in this last park that Sarah Harmer’s music is featured. Make sure to check out the film, which shows some of Canada’s most grandiose beauty. Hear more about this project from John Bessai, executive producer and creative director of the GreenHeroes Campaign, in  The Bulletin!

The rural countryside in our backyard is a diverse home to native trees and rare species; the Niagara Escarpment specifically, a pristine 450 million year old UNESCO world heritage site, is home to 40% of Ontario’s rare species and houses trees that are over 1000 years old. The land here is irreplaceable once it’s lost, and it’s threatened every day by industry and urban encroachment.

When an aggregate company recently put forth a proposal to remove another 200 acres from Mount Nemo, Sarah Harmer, who grew up with this natural landscape in her Burlington, Ontario backyard, refused to sit idly. She co-founded PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) to stop the destruction of her hometown landscapes.

Her move to act is not a lone battle; campaigns like these are being waged across the globe, many right in our own backyards. Ancient forests, wetlands and valleys are irreplaceable once they are lost, and we must act to keep them alive. Don’t wait for your neighbour to do something about a problem. Take action now.

Sarah Harmer, the GreenHero from our ‘In My Backyard’ campaign and one of our favourite Canadian Green musicians has been busy.

This year, Sarah’s album Oh Little Fire is nominated for 3 Juno Awards; Adult Alternative Album of the Year, Producer of the Year and Recording Engineer of the Year.

In one of our previous webisodes, we profiled Sarah’s tireless work to raise awareness about the problems facing the Niagara Escarpment.

This UNESCO Heritage Site is home to numerous species and trees that are as old as 1000 years. As we highlighted, Sarah is co-founder of PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) and lends her energy to this cause which is close to her heart.


The Niagara Escarpment

Her film on the same subject has received great acclaim and she continues to speak for this beautiful natural resource.

This film, entitled “Escarpment Blues” is being played at TIFF Thursday March 24th as part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations of the JUNO Awards in Toronto. For more info regarding this screening click here. Go check it out and get involved!

Listen to her song of the same name below:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52vXPZAkDug[/youtube]

This week’s episode, “The Power of an Idea”, is all about putting ideas into action, something which Bill Lishman is quite famous for! Have you got an idea that you want to take flight?

Sure, it can be overwhelming to think about “saving the planet” from environmental destruction, but these GreenHeroes have found ways to make simple changes as part of a much bigger picture; that’s what GreenHeroes is all about

Three great innovators show the power of simple steps: Willa Black, a corporate warrior who has turned one million acts into a world-changing environmental campaign, David Suzuki, the quintessential Canadian environmentalist who models simple actions every day, and Stuart Hickox, a former marketer who has demonstrated the phenomenal power of millions of people making one change.

Tune in tonight and in the weeks to come for other GreenHeroes venturing forth to Save the Planet One Story at a Time.

If you can’t tune in tonight, Episode 3 will also be playing this Saturday at 4 pm (EST) on TVO!


Thank You Guest Bloggers!


Mark Mattson

Besides incredible blogs from our GreenHeroes Rob Stewart, Laura Reinsborough, Leilani Munter, Stuart Hickox, and Sarah Harmer, we’ve been incredibly lucky to host the voices of some phenomenal community leaders from across Canada.

These bloggers are GreenHeroes in their own rights, earning a spot on our wall for undertaking incredible social initiatives.

Claudia Li, Founder, Shark Truth – Claudia Li is the founder of Shark Truth, an organization dedicated to putting a stop to traditional Chinese delicacy of shark fin soup.

Claudia is a person of Chinese heritage, and felt the need to take responsibility on the issue, so she researched, strategized, and launched a mega anti-finning campaign.

Mark Mattson, President, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper – Mark Mattson is a criminal lawyer and the face and voice of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.

He has been working tirelessly for years to prosecute environmental offenders, and now focuses his energies on public access to clean, healthy and safe waterways through Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, which he founded in 2001.


Sarah Elton

Dr. Gail Krantzberg, Director, Center for Engineering and Public Policy, McMaster University – Dr. Gail Krantzberg’s work focuses on shared water stewardship and water policy in large lakes.

Though water science is her specialty, it’s her infectious personal passion for the Great Lakes and dedication to preserving them that shines through her work.

Sarah Elton, Author, Locavore: From Farmers’ Fields to Rooftop Gardens – How Canadians are Changing the Way We Eat – Sarah Elton is a journalist and food writer, featured in publications including The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, and The Atlantic’s Food Channel.

Sarah was inspired to write Locavore after discovering that her daughter’s cookie had traveled all the way from China.

Rhonda Teitel-Payne, Urban Agriculture Manager, The Stop Community Food Center – Rhonda Teitel-Payne is incredibly dedicated to ensuring access to healthy food for all, which doubtlessly contributes to the fact that the Stop is much more than a food bank. Rhonda works with The Stop to provide fresh produce from local community gardens and community skill building workshops.


Justin LaFountaine

Justin LaFontaine, Project Founder and Director, Bike Train – On a trip to the Niagara Region, Justin discovered that there was no easy way for cyclists to get out of the city and see the countryside, so he partnered with VIA Rail Canada to introduce a unique service, which allows tourists to take their bikes on trains with little environmental impacts.

Lea Anne Mallett, Executive Director, EcoSource – Lea Anne Mallett is the head of EcoSource, an organization that empowers the community to become more environmentally responsible through creative public education.

Lulu Cohen Farnell, Founder, Real Food for Real Kids – Lulu and her husband David started Real Food for Real Kids because they didn’t want their son Max to grow up on anything by real food. She decided that it wasn’t impossible to try and change the world, and her phenomenal company, bringing real, healthy food to kids has been growing since.

We believe that sharing ideas is essential to sparking change; it can be as simple as contributing to our blog. What are you doing in your community to make a change? We want to hear from you! If you are interested in appearing on our blog, send us your ideas, words and questions to blog@greenheroes.tv.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, let your ideas take flight: Share your story of innovation and bright ideas sparking change by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook



Tune in Tuesday, November 9 at 7 p.m. (EST) for the second episode of GreenHeroes on TVO.

Last week, we proudly launched our companion TV show to rave reviews. It was exciting to see our GreenHeroes on the big screen, flaunting their unique and risk-taking attributes and highlighting their amazing global actions.

Bill Lishman was one of those great innovators and risk-takers featured in Episode 1: Saving Species. From a simple hang glider, Bill developed a complex ultra-light glider, and used it to bring back the Whooping Crane from the brink of extinction.

Since then, he’s used his ever-inspired mind to complete many out-of-the-box projects, from his underground home to a one-of-a-kind protest staged to stop construction of an airport in his Pickering backyard. Got an idea like Bill? Transform your ideas to action by visiting our Taking Flight campaign page.

Bill’s not the only one putting his talents to work and pushing the boundaries in his local surroundings. This week’s episode “In My Backyard” showcases the brave work of many talented folks and a couple of familiar music-makers.

All three use their unique talents and their arts to effect local change: Musician Gord Downie speaks out against a polluting cement company, Singer/Songwriter Sarah Harmer composes a musical tour to highlight, and prevent, ecosystem destruction in her hometown, and Annabel Slaight shows the power of a bit of corporate know-how by organizing to save Lake Simcoe.

Tune in tonight and in the weeks to come for other GreenHeroes venturing forth to Save the Planet One Story at a Time.

If you can’t tune in tonight, Episode 2 will also be playing this Saturday at 4 pm (EST) on TVO

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, let your ideas take flight: Share your story of innovation and bright ideas sparking change by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes
Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns
Sign up for our newsletter
Follow us on Twitter
Become our fan on Facebook

Jane's Walk
23Oct
2010

When was the last time you really got to know your neighbourhood, and how well do you know it? Jane’s Walk might be just what you’re looking for if you need to reconnect with your backyard and get to know your neighbours.

Jane’s Walk is a free walking tour for locals, by locals. We love and share its vision, to create walkable neighborhoods, to promote urban literacy, and to build cities for and by people.

Formed in 2007 by a group of dedicated citizens (including Chris Winter, a GreenHero we profiled for his neat Doors Closed initiative), Jane’s Walk is all about community, knitting us together to become strong and resourceful leaders to work together and organize around issues that matter to us.

It was Jane Jacobs’ vision to have an engaged community with contemporary urban planning practices, championing the interests of locals and pedestrians over a car-centric approach to the downtown core.

It’s an exciting idea that appeals to many – even our own GreenHero Sarah Harmer led a Jane’s Walk tour in Toronto. Like Expedition Blue Planet and our own GreenHeroes.tv, the walk is about engaging citizens in meaningful discussion, and improving the livability of our communities.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

Jane Jacobs, ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities’

Executive Director Jane Farrow answers a few questions about Jane’s Walk by email.

GreenHeroes: How does Jane’s Walk connect to our campaign theme “In My Backard”?

Jane Farrow: It seems people everywhere want to dig in and get things done with their neighbours. Thinking big, acting local still has lots of appeal for people, and hopefully always will.

GreenHeroes: What are the benefits of Jane’s Walk, and why is it so important to get to know your backyard?

Jane Farrow: The Jane’s Walk mandate remains simple and straightforward – to raise urban literacy; to cultivate and create cities planned for and by people; to help create walkable, livable, diverse neighbourhoods.

The walks promote these objectives by helping people tell the story of their own neighbourhoods, their own parks, places they hang out, barber shops, libraries, malls and coffee shops.

Some neighbourhoods have large reputations that precede them, others are relatively obscure and unknown, but each and every neighbourhood has stories to tell, and, as it turns out, plenty of local residents who are keen to tell them.

Jane’s Walk helps make cities and streets safe for all users by promoting walkability. We do this with educational materials, research studies and by providing organizational support. Functional, daily walking is the type of physical activity and travel behaviour that promotes healthy communities and individuals.

GreenHeroes: How can people get involved in Jane’s Walk and act in their communities?

Jane Farrow: Volunteer tour guides, ranging from municipal councillors and urban planners to recent immigrants and high school students, customize their tours with personal stories, local perspectives, insider tips and secret shortcuts.

The walks bridge social and geographic gaps by creating a space for cities to discover themselves. Just head to our website and get more information and support for how to put your own walk together, alone or with other folks from your neighbourhood.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

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We at GreenHeroes are inspired daily to take action. We do understand, however, that it can be hard to know where to dig in to solve complex challenges facing our planet.

One of the best ways we’ve found to take action is by looking around in our own backyards for ways we can make a difference. Sometimes the first step is to join in with others on a project or campaign.

As we wrote about last week on the GreenHeroes blog, we were excited about the collective action of thousands of people around the world on 10/10/10.

350.org inspired people from 7,000 communities in 188 countries to convene work parties in their own communities to fight climate change. Here is the video with some of the highlights of that important day.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Singer, songwriter, environmental activist and GreenHero Sarah Harmer just cannot be stopped.

Co-founder of Protecting Escarpment and Rural Lands (PERL), she’s just begun a musical tour to promote her newest album, Late Bloomer.

It comes on the heels of her toe-tapping Escarpment Blues tour, which exposed her feelings towards her childhood backyard in the Niagara Escarpment through song, and uncovered the devastating destruction of its biodiversity by developers and industry digging for aggregates.

This October, we will watch PERL stand before the Ontario Municipal Board to defend the escarpment from further invasion. Sarah Harmer took a moment from her busy tour schedule to lend her voice to the GreenHeroes campaign, and to remind us to be the voices for the environment in our own backyards.


It’s been over 5 years, and the work to save the Niagara Escarpment’s Mount Nemo in Burlington, Ontario from a massive LaFarge/Nelson Aggregate open pit quarry continues at a busy pace.

In mid-September the Niagara Escarpment Commission voted in what they called a “precedent setting” vote in favour of processing community organization Protecting Escarpment Rural Land’s (PERL) amendment application to properly designate the land at risk on Mount Nemo based on current science.

This would include recognizing the Grindstone Creek Headwaters Provincially Significant Wetland Complex, and Species at Risk habitats, which were confirmed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in 2006 and 2007.

To have this up-to-date science reflected in the land-use designations of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act (NEPDA) would update much of the subject land from “Escarpment Rural” to “Escarpment Natural” and “Escarpment Protected”.

Aggregate extraction is contemplated in “Escarpment Rural” designated land, but not in “Escarpment Natural” and “Escarpment Protected” land. Getting the proper designations in place would prevent the contemplation of aggregate extraction on most of the LaFarge owned property.

PERL, Halton Region and the City of Burlington have all called for the proper designations to be put in place on this land, in other words to get the planning right, before Ontario tax payers are made to spend millions of dollars in a Joint Board hearing, which is slated to begin in October 2010.

With this decision to process our amendment application the Niagara Escarpment Commission has recognized that it is crucial to have the most current Provincial science reflected in NEPDA land designations.

We are ever more hopeful that good planning will prevail, and the future of Mount Nemo as part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, home to Endangered and Threatened Species and vital source water supply, will be saved for future generations.


The Ontario Municipal Board hearings are currently underway, but it is not too late to sign on to the petition and take action. For more actions you can take to protect Mount Nemo and your community, visit our In My Backyard campaign page.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

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Sarah Harmer is a JUNO award winning singer/songwriter who flexes her musical muscle to protect a world biosphere site.

Sarah grew up with the Niagara Escarpment in her backyard. Today, she is dedicated to its preservation, and to achieve this goal, she co-founded PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) and mounts a concert each summer featuring renowned musicians like Bruce Cockburn and Feist.

“There’s so many places to help the environment wherever you are and whatever your neighbourhood or community is, I think it’s all there to find and it can be right in your neighbourhood, in your own backyard as it was in mine.”

Tell us about the projects or causes you’re involved with that are helping the environment in your community.

We want to hear about your moment of inspiration: enter our contest, or nominate a friend, for a chance to win a GreenHeroes prize and be featured on our contest website. You may even end up having your story told on TVO!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Calling all environmental film lovers! Starting tonight, Wednesday, October 13th, until Sunday, October 17th, Planet in Focus International Film Festival will be launching the 2010 edition of its festival, with over 100 amazing films from across the planet.

At the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, Director Ron Mann will be showcasing his world-traversing documentary following Canadian Author Margaret Atwood as she travels the globe with her new novel, The Year of the Flood.

Rather than hosting a traditional book tour, Atwood spins the tour on its head, executing a theatrical version of her novel in cities from Edinburgh to London, New York City to Vancouver.

The proceeds of her tour are given to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and other environmental groups. The documentary shines a light on the writing and efforts of Margaret Atwood, and demonstrates hope of bringing the world together for change.

We’re jumping to see Margaret Atwood, who will be present to accept the Planet in Focus Canadian Eco Hero Award along with fellow novelist Graeme Gibson.

For more information, visit Sphinx Productions. To purchase tickets to the film, which is showing on Wednesday, October 13th, at 7:00 PM in Toronto, visit the Planet in Focus site.

Stick around for Friday, October 15th, when the film short GreenHeroes: Sarah Harmer makes it international debut!

You can catch a sneak peak of Sarah Harmer’s webisode here, but you’ll need to join us at Planet in Focus for an airing of the never-before-seen short, which profiles Sarah Harmer’s fight to protect her hometown backyard, parts of the Niagara Escarpment and Mount Nemo in Burlington where she grew up.

A GreenHero she is – the film explores her journey from singer to activist and conservationist, as she co-founds Protecting Escarpment Rural Land (PERL) and tours the country with her music.

The film is one of a series co-produced by our own GreenHeroes, Joan Prowse and John Bessai, also co-founders of CineFocus Canada. Executive Producer and Creative Director of the GreenHeroes Campaign John Bessai said:

“I am very excited that Planet in Focus is part of the GreenHeroes Campaign. The work of PERL is fantastic and we are so happy to be sharing the story of how Sarah Harmer has raised awareness about the ecosystem of her own back yard. We hope that other GreenHeroes will come forward and take part in the GreenHeroes Campaign at www.GreenHeroes.tv and participate in the nominate GreenHero contest and win a chance to be profiled on TVO.”

If you don’t get a chance to attend the film festival on October 15th, you can catch the GreenHeroes TV series, including GreenHeroes: Sarah Harmer, starting on November 2, 2010, on TVO.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

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